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Catholic Dictionary




The religious system introduced by John Calvin (1509-64). French reformer, in opposition to the doctrine of the Catholic Church on the meaning of humanity's predestination. In the Calvinist system, as a result of Adam's fall, man has no longer any internal freedom of the will; he is a slave of God. Everyone is eternally predestined, either for heaven or for hell, absolutely independent of his personal efforts. Consequently the elect cannot be lost. The basic principles of Calvinism are set forth in the Institutes of the Christian Religion, where Calvin argues that, since God is absolutely infinite, he is the only real agent in the universe and creatures are merely his instruments.